Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Credit: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Indonesia’s Universitas Gadjah Madah develops gloves that translate sign language to verbal language

An announcement made by the Universitas Gadjah Madah (UGM) highlighted the invention of its students that allows people with hearing disability to communicate with other people. SIGNLY is a sign language translator that can instantly interpret sign language into verbal language.

A group of UGM students have developed a sign language translator that would allow people with a hearing disability to communicate with other people.

Team Chairman Ms Nindi Kusuma Ningrum explained to journalists on 29 June 2018, “This comes in the form of gloves that can translate sign language instantly into verbal language.”

The project prototype is called Sign Language Translator Synchronously (SIGNLY) is equipped with a catalogue of sign language entries that include the American Sign Language, the Indonesian (Bisindo), as well as new entries using the combination of 5 right-hand fingers.

SIGNLY was developed under the Student Creativity Programme and was funded by the Higher Learning Directorate General.

For the SIGNLY project, Nindi has collaborated with fellow students Mr Faturahman Yudanto and Ms Lely Monalisa, under the supervision of Anugerah Galang Persada, S.T., M.Eng.

There are three main components of the project: the gloves, a smartphone, and a computer. A flex sensor can be found in the glove, which is the technology that allows hand movement detection. The information received by the sensor is in the form of an alphabet output that is, in turn, displayed on the desktop computer or the smartphone-based application.

Ms Nindi said, “Output in the form of written verbal language or series of alphabets will be converted to sound which can be understood instantly by those that do not know sign language.”

The speaking partner can then respond, in their own language, which will be converted into written  format that can be read directly by the people with hearing or speaking disability with the use of the computer or smartphone.

Mr Faturahman said SIGNLY was developed to allow people with disabilities to communicate with the people surrounding them, since sign language is quite difficult for most people.

He added that this tool is significant as there are a growing number of people with hearing disabilities. Based on the data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were 250 million people in the world with hearing disorder in the year 2000. 75 - 140 million, of whom, are living in Southeast Asia.

A Health Survey by done by the Indonesian Health Ministry from 1993 to 1996, showed from the total Indonesian population, 0.4% are deaf and 16.8% have hearing disorder.

Further developments will be done on the prototype, including adding the function of interpreting sign language and translating it to verbal sounds.

Ms Lely said, “Now we are focusing on research and development of the supporting tools.”

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